Thursday, May 5, 2011

March School Programs : with Beverly Ress

Our March school programs not only look at Moseni's work but also at the works on paper by artist Beverly Ress.
In the front part of the gallery, students have been looking at Ress' large drawings on canvas-backed paper. They have noticed that she is drawing from nature (trees, birds, grasses) and makes cuts in the paper in very linear, almost mechanical ways. One portion in particular of these 2-d to 3-d reconstructions is especially compelling and reminded students of a nest, a t-rex head, and a skull; another work's cut outs reminded students of a visual map of dance steps. Ress's process of cutting into her drawings and then constructing new forms with the paper is key to our central theme, "how does a drawing grow?"
Ruth's still lives
To help the students understand and appreciate Ress's attention to detail, teaching artist Ruth Wetzel constructed a variety of carefully arranged still-lifes using objects from nature she collected. With the still life of their choice students were first encouraged to look closely before drawing anything.  Then they were encouraged to draw either parts of the still life or the whole thing, to start with large shapes and then work to the smaller ones, to notice the ways the shapes related to other shapes and even to notice shadows.  Drawing with colored pencil, students noticed that there are shapes in flowers that are "roundish," that an ostrich egg has a "bumpy" texture and that one of the branches looks like a "perfect rainbow arch." 
Fifth graders from Brooklyn New School

Kindergartners from PS 676

Back in the classroom students continued to explore the question, "how can a drawing grow?"  Kentler's teaching artists provided new the students with new materials that inspired students to build.  Going from 2-d to 3-d, just like Ress's drawing, the students' work grew and grew...

Installation at PS 15